After reports of Railway caterers using toilet water for tea and coffee in trains surfaces in media, travellers were shell-shocked. Not that something like this wasn’t expected of the Indian Railways, just that the ‘secret’ was not out in the open.
Shortly after discovering what goes in trains’ pantry car, the Railways is mulling to a proposal to use “undercover mystery men” to check for faults in the services offered by it.
According to the Railway Ministry official, connected to the development, the Railways plans to bring “undercover” men, dressed in plain clothes, to monitor the food quality, staff behaviour, services served onboard the train and at the railway stations while acting as normal passengers.
“They shall buy the food as a normal passenger and give feedback about the quality of the food, staff behaviour, amenities and rate the staff on their performance live to the ministry,” the official told IANS.
The official also revealed that the undercover men will have set parameters by which they rate the amenities by interacting with passengers, staff members and other officials and submit a report based on their findings.
Railways food not fit for human consumption
In a 2017 audit report, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, said that food served by the Indian Railways to its passengers is unfit for consumption by humans.
Joint inspections by audit teams exposed inefficiency and malpractices relating to hygiene, even a survey by the audit exposed that 75 per cent of the passengers felt hygiene and cleanliness was either average or poor.
The CAG has pointed out the shocking reality that the items that are being provided at railway stations and in trains are unfit for human consumption. Fruit juices, biscuits and flavoured milk being sold at railway stations were found to be unsuitable for human consumption in the inspection by CAG team.
The CAG also said that contaminated food stuff, recycle foodstuffs, expired packages and bottled items, unauthorised brands of water bottles were accepted and offered for sale inside station premises and trains.
It was found that purified water was not available at 21 stations across 11 railways zones. Dirty water was being used for beverages like coffee, tea and soups in 22 trains. Water used for cooking purposes was not purified. The general railway water supply was being used for cooking in some trains. No hand gloves and caps were being used in the kitchen at 32 stations across 13 railway zone.
The food was found to be infested with flies and dust and cockroaches and rats were seen in pantry cars in trains.
The Railways not only offers poor quality food but also overcharges for it. Even the complaint redressal system is defunct. While the Railways is revamping its services by offering better facilities with an aim to increase revenue, the current trend of providing sub-standard food and poor services is only playing a dampener.
Source: India Times